Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Lake Trophies: At least Some People Enjoyed Themselves

Yet again the wind was strong. It's OK, it can be quite fun, playing in the wind when it's dry but it does get tedious.

Why is it so windy? I remember from A-level geography that the UK's weather is unpredictable and varied primarily because it is at the junction of different air masses as well as being at the edge of a major continent. The north-east's weather is largely determined by the polar continental mass and we have strong winds both from our exposed position and the path of depressions.

But an overriding factor is the polar jet stream. For reasons I can't easily explain but apparently linked to temperature variations in the Pacific Ocean ("el nino/southern oscillation") causing atmospheric changes across the globe, it has been further south than usual, especially this year. The jet stream brings high winds and turbulence. Its location can be followed here and its a good indicator of our weather. Sure enough on Saturday it was above us before drifting away on Monday.

I asked the Met Office about wind speeds at Boulmer (the nearest station to us). The average wind speed in 2010 (9.6 knots) was close to the latest 30 year average they've calculated (1971 to 2000). The first four months of this year (also 9.6 knots) were about 15% less than the long term average. But the wind in May (11 knots) was about 30% higher than long term average. It was in fact the highest average wind speed ever recorded there in May.

Whatever the reason, congratulations to Angus Smith and Alan Patterson who won with 41 points; they must have put all thoughts of La Nina and her impact on the jet stream behind them.

No comments:

Post a Comment